The PJ Tatler

Cardin Taking Over for Menendez as Top Dem on Foreign Relations Committee

As Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) battles Justice Department corruption charges, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has named a replacement ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

It’s another pro-Israel senator with views similar to those of Menendez.

“I am humbled that Democratic Leader Reid has asked me to serve as Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at this time,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said in a statement. “It is clear to all of us that the pressing national security challenges facing our nation require having active and effective leadership in our engagement with Senator Corker and the White House. America is always stronger when we speak with one voice on foreign policy issues. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has an important role in defining that unified voice for America.”

Cardin has advocated for unobstructed inspections of Iran’s nuclear program and stressed that only Congress can remove the sanctions.

“As Ranking Member, I look forward to becoming even more engaged in our unified national effort to ensure Iran is not allowed to have nuclear weapons,” he said in today’s statement. “I also expect to fully participate in shaping an open and fair debate over the use of force against ISIL and how we deal with the growing instability that has opened the door for extremist activity in Yemen, Tunisia, and elsewhere. I plan to continue actively pressing for greater consequences for Russia as a result of its aggression against Ukraine and blatant disregard for its international commitments, human rights and the rule of law. I am looking forward to the upcoming Summit of the Americas, an opportunity to work with our very closest neighbors.”

“I will continue to champion U.S. engagement to tackle pressing global health, food security, economic development and environmental issues, and to promote strong U.S. support for civil society particularly in Africa. And I will keep a close eye on maritime security developments in Asia, which have been at the forefront of my agenda as Ranking Member of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee.”

Cardin has served on the committee since 2007. He was a co-sponsor of Menendez-Kirk Iran sanctions legislation in the last Congress.

“I have been especially interested in Senator Corker’s aggressive campaign to combat human trafficking, as well as reform our food-aid programs and pass a State Department authorization,” Cardin concluded. “I look forward to working with him on these and other mutual priorities. I plan to engage Senator Corker in additional efforts to protect human rights, transparency and good governance worldwide, including passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Global Human Rights Accountability Act.”